Episode 147 - Sustainable Rubber Hits the Road

When the rubber hits the road, one tire company stands out among the rest. From raw material traceability to supply chain transparency, Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company is not only helping to do what’s good for business, but what’s good for the planet, too.

Driven by an ambitious sustainability strategy, Goodyear has set goals to develop a tire made of 100% sustainable materials by 2030 and using only renewable energy in its manufacturing facilities and operations by 2040. The company is even working to develop a domestic source of natural rubber from a specific species of dandelion in collaboration with the Department of Defense, the Air Force Research Lab, BioMADE and Farmed Materials.

To learn more about Goodyear’s impressive sustainability journey, we sat down with Ellis Jones, Vice President and Chief Sustainability Officer. He discusses the company’s uniquely strong culture, the importance of working collaboratively with small farms, and the development of new sustainable tire materials.

You’ll even get a glimpse into the future with intelligent tires that enable fleets to identify and address problems in real time—and learn how Goodyear is evolving its products as EVs and AVs hit the road.

Meet Our Guest

Vice President and Chief Sustainability Officer
The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company

Ellis Jones has served as Vice President and Chief Sustainability Officer for Goodyear since 2021. In his current role, Jones works to integrate Goodyear Better Future, the company’s corporate responsibility framework throughout all facets of the organization. Jones has been with Goodyear for more than 30 years, previously serving as vice president, Global EHS&S and Business Continuity. He also led race tire manufacturing at Goodyear's Akron headquarters and held various roles in finance, manufacturing, supply chain and marketing. Jones received his bachelor's degree in Accounting from Hampton University and his master's degree in Business Operational Excellence from The Ohio State University.


Grayson Brulte:

Hello, I'm your host, Grayson Brulte. Welcome to another episode of SAE Tomorrow Today, a show about emerging technology and trends and mobility with leaders, innovators, and strategists who make it all happen. On today's episode, we're absolutely honorably joined by Ellis Jones, vice President and Chief Sustainability Officer at the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company.


On today's episode, we'll discuss the company's goal to build a better future by using renewable and sustainable materials. We hope you enjoy this. Ellis, welcome to the podcast. 

Ellis Jones:

Thank you, Grayson, and I appreciate it and it's a pleasure to be here. It's a pleasure to share the Goodyear's sustainability story. We're really looking forward to our discussion. 

Grayson Brulte:

 We're honored to have you here. We had Erin Spring on from Goodyear, and she did a wonderful job, but more importantly, Goodyear has a long track record of innovation. The company is constantly innovating, and now you're leaning into sustainability. You're taking a really innovative approach, which I'll call the Goodyear approach. You're doing it the good. The right way. How is Goodyear approaching sustainability? 

Ellis Jones:

That's a great question. First, it's gonna be tough to keep up with Erin but I'll try to do my best here. But that's a great question and it is a very specific approach for our culture. And you mentioned the innovation in our culture, I call it an integrated approach to sustainability.


You often hear of these big ambitions that companies announce around climate, around materials biodiversity. For Goodyear, it's always important to get everyone engaged in the process. And in the strategy. So it's not just, it's not Ellis's strategy, it won't be successful. It's just, Ellis is the CSO and I own it alone and I'm driving it alone. So we've taken our time and been really deliberate on how we integrate this into our business. I have three pillars that I focus on. As a CSO, I call it structure, environment capability, and structure is all around systems and processes and how you build a foundation. So example, how do you determine what you'll work on?


You need to do a materiality assessment and you need to get feedback from internal and external stakeholders holders, and they will say, here's what's important to us as a stakeholder and here's what we think will impact you as a, as an organization. So that's one example of building as found. Where Ellis didn't decide what to work on, the stakeholders decided what to work on, including associates.


So that's an in critical pillar and there's a lot involved in building structure. The second pillar is environment and environment is all about our culture. And how do you get the culture really enthused? And excited about sustainability. So we really spent a lot of time educating our culture and really as I talked about that materiality assessment, understanding what's important to them, and really engaging the culture through our communication methods.


We do town halls so really getting the culture engaged and taking her input. And then the third pillar is capability. And as you start to build this new muscle, you have to build your associate's capability to put a lens on to look at the business differently. So example, if you're gonna develop a tire, a designer has all these different characteristics he's thinking about, he or she's thinking about as they develop a tire, now we have to add sustainability to it and we have to really teach them to put this lens on.


So those are, there's a lot involved in those three pillars, but those are just three examples of how we use structure environment capability to integrate sustainability into what we do as a business. 

Grayson Brulte:

The culture is very important. We've seen businesses thrive with the great culture. Businesses suffer with a poor culture.


Your culture is very strong. Your CEO's made very public statements around the strength of your culture. Is the Goodyear culture the backbone of Goodyear's better future strategy? 

Ellis Jones:

 It is I mentioned stakeholders and our associates they are a stakeholder and they're a very important stakeholder and so engaging our associates, getting their input, and then as I mentioned before, getting them really enthused and excited and inspired about the sustainability strategy is important because the work, as I said, it's integrated into what we do as an organization, so it then stretches beyond my.


So I have to have the finance organization excited about non-financial data. I have to have the materials organization excited about sourcing these new types of materials. Our procurement organization as we're sourcing materials, they're at the front of, human rights and ensuring that we have no human rights impacts, negative impacts in our supply chain.


So all the different functions. Have to be engaged, they have to be inspired, and it needs to be the work that they do versus being something extra. And that's where that I think that strong, history of our culture and how our culture really innovates for our company and carries our company forward.


That's where you get the, I think the power of the culture.

Grayson Brulte:

The power of the culture is what's gonna allow you to succeed. And when you look at supply chains during the depths of Covid, we saw what happened. People couldn't get Bounty, they couldn't get groceries. Now the pendulum swung to transparency, wait a second some of the materials that are going into tires are going into buildings or going into cars. Wait, this is not a healthy work environment. You've taken the approach very smartly, I'll say very smartly to track raw material traceability, you're removing materials of concerns, you're going out of conflict zones.


Did the culture bubble that up to you and say, Mr. Jones, this is an issue that we need to look into? Or how did you take the initiative to look into that?

Ellis Jones: 

When you think about sustainability, and I think every company discovered this, when you start looking at the scope of sustain.


You look at the GDS goals, the 17 goals, there are a lot of things that we did already, and I think companies are finding that out. It's, now, how do you talk about it? So when I think about our supplier code of conduct and what we held our suppliers to, we've always done that. Now, traceability is something new that many of us are trying to solve today cuz our supply chain is very complex.


If I just look at natural. There are millions of small farmers out there, and now how do you really trace the natural rubber that you purchase through all the different layers of your supply chain down to that small farmer? That's complex. But we can solve those problems as and as an industry, we need to solve that problem together.


So we're working within the industry to really understand, how do we work on our biggest material. And really through technology, there's blockchain technology. There are apps that technology organizations are developing that you can put at the very, lowest level is your supply chain and start collecting the data.


So those things are occurring. So you have regulatory requirements where those things need to happen. So those drive us. I think when you look at the history of Goodyear, as you said, we've always had this model of protect our good culture and protect our good name. So we've leveraged that and then we're the associates come in because some of this many associates may not have known we were gone.


So as you start talking about it more, they want to hear about it. And then they start asking you questions of, okay, what else can we do? So it's exciting to see as associates learn, you see their engagement and you see how they start to drive what you do.

Grayson Brulte:

It's fun cuz the associates can pu up new ideas that you might not have thought about, that you might be able to implement and have a really positive impact. When I look at track and trace, and I do research on track and trace as this summer doing steel, some are doing aluminum. You're in the rubber business today? Yes. Is the tire industry coming together to get a standards that are recognized by the government or recognized by a regulatory body, says, okay, this is how we're gonna do all the transparency is that, are you all coming together to ensure transparency around rubber?

Ellis Jones:

Yeah. What we do there, we have the tire industry project where all the tire companies, all the major tire companies come together and talk about these issues as an industry. And I think that's one thing we're doing better a, as an industry is collaborating on those topics that, that impact all of us.


But as an industry there, there's no, we all benefit from trace. We all benefit from technology and the standards around traceability. I don't think anyone wants to go out and say, Hey, my product is better than yours because I can, I can trace the supply of it. We wanna go down that path together.


So we do come together on many different topic. And we determine as an industry, how do we get at this? How do we get at it as an industry? And how do we solve the problem as an industry and pull our thoughts together in a, in an environment with safe and solve some of these problems together.

Grayson Brulte:

It's healthy in the automotive business, the one common denominator not want to compete on safety and what you're describing. Do not want to complete compete on transparency because it's good for everybody. It's not just good for one part of the industry, you're tracking rubber. Are there other materials that Goodyear's currently tracking to add transparency to your supply chain?

Ellis Jones:

We wanted to start with rubber because it's the biggest material. It's probably the most complex material. So that's where our focus is. Our focus is on natural rubber, but we do it. You'll notice in our corporate responsibility report, we have goals to stretch beyond natural rubber and get into other materials that, that we need to trace.


So that's part of our ambition. We set those ambitions and we say, okay, where do we need to start? And then we have that longer term ambition to get into other materials within our supply chain. So you'll see that coming from us in the future. 

Grayson Brulte:

The ambition ties into your corporateculture of innovation. You're saying we're starting with the core. We're gonna keep innovating. We're going to keep expanding. Since you put the track and trace in place for rubber, what benefits have you seen? Have you gotten feedback from your customers, from your industry peers? What sort of benefits have you seen?

Ellis Jones:

I think it is just learning more about our supply chain, and understanding, we've done a lot of work with small farmers and man, it's, when you can get out there and get down to the source where your materials are coming from. You start learning how they operate. You learn how to make them better as operators. Which, which benefits everyone involved. Because if you're starting to trace it down to this small farmer, you start to, to understand a farmer's operation, you start to understand their challenges.


How do they produce more? How do they produce more sustainably as a farmer, you want that farmer to be around for a long time. So then, you think about, other thing, in our supplier code of conduct and in our policy around natural rubber is no deforestation. We don't wanna source rubber from areas that is, is driving deforestation.


So you start to learn about that. You start to learn the challenges that those small farmers are dealing. You start to learn how to help 'em. And we've done things to help those small farmers get more productive on their farm, where they, if not saying it, but they don't have to worry about these other issues cuz they can be more productive as farmers.


So that's, I think the biggest thing for us is learning about that, that lowest level of our supply chain. And really understanding how to help them be better at what they do. 

Grayson Brulte:

While you're learning, you're having, as you described, you're having a positive impact on them. Yes. They get to learn from you as well, and that's a.


A win-win I wanna highlight in the Goodyear's 2021 corporate responsibility port. It was extremely well done. It wasn't corporate, it was well done, it had substance, great graphic design, and in there you highlighted that tires had the potential. I repeat potential to contribute the most. To global warming, to combat this goodyear's working on increasing the product lifetime.


So you're helping the farmers, you're saying, okay, there is a potential situation here. We're going to work to solve that. How is Goodyear working to increase the lifetime of the tires? 

Ellis Jones:

Yeah, that's a great question. It's a great point. I, I think as we think about tires and, I always joke, no you probably don't wake up in the morning Saturday morning and say, Hey, I'm ready to go out and buy tires today, . But they, look, tires are very, some people do, some people are excited. I'm excited to buy tires, . But tires have, a great impact. They're, in, when you think about what has impact on that road, it's no four tires and it's a very small footprint on the road.


But if you think about the longevity of a. And how long does that tire last? There's been a lot of technology over the years improving the life of the tire and how do we get more life out of that tire? We're doing a lot of work around rolling resistance, and for those who don't understand rolling resistance, there's compound, there's chemistry that you can put into a tire to improve the rolling resistance.


There's also behavior. As drivers that help us improve rolling resistance. So we wanna improve the rolling resistance of that tire to improve the fuel efficiency of your car. And we have to educate, our consumers about how they can control it and improve it, and how we can improve it through the technology and a tire.


So a lot of work around tread. Getting more life and getting more miles outta that tire. A lot of work around rolling resistance and improving the fuel efficiency of that tire, which really comes into play as EVs. More EVs start to hit the road and autonomous vehicles start to hit the road, and the technology in that tire is so critical to the new technology and mobility that's starting to emerge. 

Grayson Brulte:

Would one example of those tires for EVs be the electric drive, 20 GT tires? 

Ellis Jones:

Yes. So when you think about, people always ask us, what's gonna be different with tires as you get EVs and AVs? You think about that, EV it's a heavier car, the battery, it's a heavy, a heavier car so if you just, not that you know every, you have some the same tires on EVs as you have. Combustible engines, but we're starting to learn how to develop tires that last longer under that weight of that vehicle. Tires that have better rolling resistance because the weight can impact the rolling resistance.


We want to design a tire that can perform under the weight of that vehicle. So tread life, to give you a longer lasting tire. Improving rolling resistance. To help with now the not fuel efficiency, but now battery life. It improves battery life in terms of how much mileage you get out of that one charge. So those are very important as EVs. And then AVs start to hit the road. 

Grayson Brulte:

As they hit the road. And looking at the future, will tires be designed for specific makes and models of vehicles to ensure the max amount of safety performance? Perhaps this EV class weighs more than this EV class, so you might design different tire, or this AV, for example, is designed to go a million miles, we designed a tire that's gonna be swapped. I'm just gonna use number every a hundred. Thousand miles based on performance. Are you looking at all those nuances? 

Ellis Jones:

You you have to and, it'll be difficult to design attire for every, every make and model of vehicle. But you do start to look at the types of vehicles, what's changing in the vehicles, and how do you design, design for that change that's occurring in that vehicle.


If you look at five SUVs, you use the same tire. But we do start to look at the characteristics of those vehicles being designed and then how do we improve, our technology to help that vehicle be as efficient as that driver needs it to be. You think about it when you get an ev it's one of the things, going back to the EV tire, now the noise of the engine is, has gone.


And what do you hear now as a driver saying, what's that noise? We don't want it to be the tire . So now how do we design a tire that's quiet, quieter, and you don't hear that noise? So those are some of the things we have to think about as again, EVs and avs start to hit the road.


Avs, that's another one. That's for us. We see opportunity there as we think about the connected. And the data that we're gonna get, the fleets and data we need to get to you. If you're driving an autonomous vehicle, how can we get more data to help you with? You're not driving AV but you may be sitting in the back of an AV.


But how do we get more data to the owner, to the fleet operation to the owner to help them manage that tire? And that data's gonna be very critical to understand. There's no longer a driver feeling the impact that a road. The tire now must tell you what's going on with road conditions. It must tell you how's your inflation rate on your tires?


Are you entering into a snowy area, an icy area? How's that going to impact the operation of the vehicle? Does it need to slow down? So there are there's so much technology that you can get from a tire. And that's some of the, I think the, what you'll see from tires in the future, it's that connected tires, that smart tire. And using that data to help fleets and help individuals as they operate autonomous vehicles. 

Grayson Brulte:

I'm very thankful you brought that up. I was recently at CES and was talking to a gentleman who runs one of the largest fleets in America for trucks, and he is looking into autonomous trucks and we're there with an Navy developer and we're talking about what happens to the tire blowout? How is the system going to know that the tire blowout? It's a common occurrence that happens on class A trucks around the globe. For a matter of fact what you're describing, we could put a sensor in that class, a tire quick, could, it can note to dispatch or note to the company, Hey, there was a tire blowout.


Or wait a second, we're going into this condition and then we're losing traction. Might wanna pull the truck over for safety reasons to send. A dispatcher to see what's going on. 

Ellis Jones:

That is exactly what we want to do. That, as you said, the worst thing that can happen for autonomous fleet as a vehicle goes down any fleet.


The worst thing that can happen is your vehicle goes down for any reason. You don't want to go down for a tire issue. So what we hope to do is be able to get enough data. Where there's a warning that says you, you're a, you're about to have this tire's about to fail, so you want to be able to perform that maintenance on that tire or replace that tire before it fails.


So if we can get, the day that a type of road conditions that this tire has been under, and maybe there's an early warning that says, look there's been a lot of adverse road conditions that your tires have been under. Hey, maybe it, maybe you. Maybe it's time to, if it's a, if it's a large fleet, maybe it's time to retread the tire.


Maybe it's time to replace the tire so it's getting enough data. Definitely as the tire fails, you can send that warning quickly, but before the tire fails, Man, that would be the ultimate goal of a connected tire. 

Grayson Brulte:

You can make the point that Goodyear's connected tires are mission critical to the safe operations of the vehicle or that truck.

Ellis Jones:

That, that's exactly right. That's what you want. You want that fleet to say, man, my tires, that it's critical. And fleets do this today. Tires are very, it's a critical component for fleets today. As I say, you don't want your fleets to go down whether it's autonomous or whether someone's driving that fleet.


So it's important. But again, it's even, it becomes even more important when there's not a driver in that vehicle. Then that driver, that driver becomes, you become an expert in understanding road conditions, understanding, the feedback they're that they're getting from their tires.


Now, that Connected Tire has to be that driver and give that feedback to that fleet. So it becomes more important. 

Grayson Brulte:

I'll give you a term, becomes the new driver, essentially, because without tires, you're not going from point A to point B.

Ellis Jones:

That's exactly right. That's exactly right. It is. It's where mobility's going and tires. Tires are gonna play an important role in that. 

Grayson Brulte:

Yep. And they have historically, and they play for the last a hundred years and they'll play it for the next a hundred years. Getting back to sustainability, your customers the large fleet owners, they're under pressure, they're under for sustainability, to reduce carbon emissions on their routes.


As we mentioned, tire, the potential the tires could have on global warming. Are you working with your partners, your fleet owners, your avs, your EVs to develop tires that are made from sustainable materials, and so you can go say, Goodyear's made you a sustainable tire. 

Ellis Jones:

Yes. That is so important for us. I'm glad you mentioned that because that's a big, bold ambition for us. If you notice our goal, our ambition by 2030 is to a sustainable material tire and a maintenance free tire. And that's a big goal for us. We recently announced, a 90% demo tire.


So we, we released that last week at the CES show. And, our chairman has said, look, we're gonna sell a sustainable material tire by the end of this year with up to 70% sustainable materials. So it is a big goal for us. It's an important one for. You talk about getting associates excited, our teams are excited about that ambition.


They're excited about all of our ambitions, but that one really resonates through the organization and the team working on that. Look, it's a team of associates and they are, man. You talk about an engaged team, a highly effective. They are working towards that goal and it's exciting to see.


So that is something that a lot of fleets are interested in. I think consumers are interested in it. Our OEMs are interested in it, so a lot of a energy around that ambition. 

Grayson Brulte:

What will a sustainable material tar be made?

Ellis Jones:

Oh, there's, it, this is, it's fun to see the materials come about. People think natural uh, natural rubber Ellis, it's, that's a sustainable material.


But what you have to, we talked about it earlier, natural rubber. You have to source it in a sustainable way, so no human rights violations, no deforestation. You wanna make sure you do that? Carbon black. So different types of carbon. Black as many of our materials are come from fuel so we wanna make sure we, we get different forms of carbon black silica, rice husk,as silica. Say that real fast. So silica from rice husk. So you know it, which is a. There's two things we're doing. You're eliminating the waste because it's a byproduct of rust of rice. And now we're developing silica from that rice husk to put into our materials.


There's re there's recycled plastics that we're using for fabric and nylons. There's so many different materials, but the, I tell you, the fun thing about it is the different technologies. That are emerging through different suppliers. We get calls all the time from different suppliers who say, I think I have this type of material that you can use.


So the collaboration that's occurring, it's fun to watch because when I think about sustainability, I think about opportunities and sustainable materials. It's starting to drive opportunities within our supply chain of new suppliers and current suppliers. 

Grayson Brulte:

And I'm gonna go on to limb here with a smile on my face. I'm sure your lab team's having a lot of fun.

Ellis Jones:

They are. They really are. And when we think about sustainable materials, and we get, people often say how fast can I get the tire? Can I get the tire? And that's why it was fun to see our CEO announce we're gonna sell the tire.


But the thing that we have to do, and this is where, we really make sure people understand it's the chemistry is so important, and tires. We know how important it is to safety. So the chemistry in that tire is It must perform under all types of conditions. So as we look at these new materials, we have to get the chemistry rate and we don't, we, you the best case scenario is that it performs better.


I mentioned soybean oil performs better. We don't want it to perform worse. We want it to perform the same or better in all types of conditions. But then the other is the supply chain and developing a new supply chain for these material. So there's work to do, and on the chemistry side and on the supply chain side to develop the supply chain for these new materials.


So it takes time, but it's coming together and it's starting to really build some momentum. 

Grayson Brulte:

It's building momentum. You're making it happen. So the tire, the sustainable tires by 2030 and then by 2040. Goodyear's committed to only using renewable energy. You're setting very ambitious goals.

Ellis Jones:

Yes, very important for us. So we think about our climate strategy. We have a science-based climate strategy or ambition that we announced last year for 2050, net 0, 20 30. We have an interim goal in 2030 of about a 46% reduction in our in our emissions. So an important element of that is renewable.


So by 2040 we will be a hundred percent renewable energy in our footprint. Our European operation has already gotten there in their footprint. So it was a big win for our operation. And that's involving, and in that science-based target. And if you're, for the listeners who are, who understand science-based target, if you do a science-based target, you can't just go out and buy offsets.


You can't just, okay, I'm just gonna buy offsets and I'm. Offsets. And if you read our ambition we're saving that for the last 10% of our ambition or our goal. Hopefully we won't need to do it. So we're looking at, we're looking at onsite generation. We're looking at purchase power agreements through suppliers.


So we're looking at opportunities to, to improve the infrastructure and then tap into that infrastructure, whether it's onsite. Or offsite and we're sourcing that renewable energy. But that's a big goal for us. And I'll tell you, the team is really excited about that. And I'll tell you, we went from about 3%, two years ago of renewable energy and our footprint, we're at 35% now.


So really accelerated and I think we're going to continue to see that acceleration over the next several years. 

Grayson Brulte:

32% acceleration in two years? 

Ellis Jones:

Yes. Yes. That was a, again, and this is the power of integration when it's owned by Ellis, Ellis is trying to get it. You're trying to convince people to do that.


But when the organization says this is the right thing to do, then your functions start to own it. So when we look at our climate strategy it's sponsored by our chairman, our c e o, and then I lead the team, but engineer. Is a member of the team and they are actually driving the renewable energy strategy.


Procurement is on the team. So they'll drive a lot of the scope three emissions through our suppliers logistics. They'll drive it through our logistics carriers, accounting's on the team because we have to account for it differently. And as we enter these agreements how do we enter these agreements and how do we invest in infrastructure?


So we have all these different functions. Now driving the strategy, and that's how you get the acceleration from three to 3% to 35%. You have the integration in your company. 

Grayson Brulte:

You had the experience, you've worked in the finance department. You worked in manufacturing, and you have this really good understanding of the wonderful culture that is Goodyear and it's a team effort.


Has your broad experience inside of Goodyear influenced the way that you're approaching sustainability?

Ellis Jones:

Yes, it has. I talked about that three-pronged approach, and that was very important. I've been in Goodyear for 33 years, and as you said, a lot of different experience, finance, operations, different business units.


And so I understand how Goodyear works, and I understand it works better when it's a collective group driving it, and you get to buy in from the team. So in Goodyear, you have to influence, look our CEO has to influence my boss to CTO o, he has to, I. Yes, there are top down goals that you can drive through your organization, but as you deploy those goals down through the organization and align the organization, you have to help people understand what their input needs to be, how they influence and drive this goal.


And as I said, how do they now put the lens on and you build that capability. So understanding the organization, understanding how you influence our organiz. Has been very critical for me and my team in being successful in developing the strategy. And then in and then executing a sustainable strategy. 

Grayson Brulte:

It's very important that you execute a sustainable strategy cuz organizations now are being judged on sustainability. It's a metric out there in public filings. It's a metric that investors are looking for ES. How do you see the sustainability evolving as a metric of corporate success in the future? 

Ellis Jones:

Yeah, I think it's gonna be very important the way we think about it. because as I said before, if it's something extra, it's hard to get the organization to go because there's so much to do.


And so that integration and so the way we talk about it is, cause a long time we've talked about the sustainability strategy versus a business strategy, and now we're talking about a sustainable business strategy and so it becomes the work. I never get my, my CFO as we were talking about our climate strategy, and we were talking about measuring, the indicators for our climate strategy.


And he said, Ellis, you and we were doing some work and influence in the organization and he said, Ellis, this is the work. This is the work we do. Now. This not, this isn't extra. So the team has to understand, and we have to let the team know that this now becomes the work. So now these measures, they used to be sustainability measures.


Now they're just measures within a function and you roll it up with your business metrics and they become your business metrics. So you have to choose which are the right ones but these non-financial metrics, they just become part of your business metric. And then as a company, you define what a sustainable business model.


For your business and you start measuring towards that goal of a sustainable business model.

Grayson Brulte:

I like the term sustainable business strategy. I haven't heard that a lot. Well done on that. Oh, thank you. You're very welcome. As we look into the future, what is the future sustainability at Goodyear? Do you continue to evolve, move things towards lower carbon, integrate it deeper into the business operations. Cuz right now you're firing on all cylinders on the culture. So I'm really curious of how it's gonna work.

Ellis Jones: 

It is, it's, we actually, again we're very intentional how we go about these things. So we actually have a maturity model that we measure our progress on this continuum of maturity.


And the way I explain it is, the way the model's set up is there's that very low maturity level. Hey, there's this hero in your organization really driving it, and that would be me as the hero. And you, as this integration occurs, you start to, to get a functional integration where now your functions are leading it.


And then the step I'm describing is a business integration where your business model starts to change. You start to a perfect example as a sustainable material tire. You may have. This is the way it works. You may have the technology organization developing a demo tire, that's great functional integration, but now the business has to take it and say, how do I sell it?


So we are in that business. We're moving towards that business integration phase. Where it does become a part of our business and now becomes a sustainable business model. So that's where, that's what's next for Goodyear. The ultimate level is your brand is known as a sustainable brand.


That's a big decision for any company. I've describe a Patagonia as a brand. When you think Patagonia, you think it's sustainability. It's a big decision for a company, not all companies. Want to be there. Not all companies need to be there. We wanna get to that business integration, where our products and our services, and you're starting to, we talked about some of that with connected tire, sustainable material tire.


And then you make the decision if you want to go to that ultimate level. But I wanna see that business integration because that's where you really start taking advantage of opportunities. And you start to give back as a business. 

Grayson Brulte:

At the end of the day, it comes down to brand. You mentioned Patagonia from the early days before sustainability was cool. Patagonia was promoting it and doing really great things for the environment. You can make an argument that they're one of the greatest sustainable brands of all time for all the work that they've given back. The Goodyear brand stands for quality success in the world's best tires.


And now Ellis, with your work, it's gonna stand for the best sustainable tire company because all roads lead to Akron and those roads are gonna be sustainable. That's right. In the future. That's right. And Ellis, as we look to wrap up this insightful conversation, what would you like our listeners to take away with them today?

Ellis Jones:

Look we've talked about a lot, but I think the thing that, that sticks out and you mentioned it in terms of the role that tires have played in. And again, as I said, a lot of people, man, that tire it may not, may not wake up excited about the tire, but the role that the tire will play in the future of mobility will be even greater.


I may take your tagline, if the tire becomes the new driver, . I don't know that's , but it is, I think people need to understand that, that tire will play a bigger. And mobility in the future of mobility and then for Goodyear, we wanna be a part of that. And, we wanna be a part of that.


We want to really impact the future of mobility and help people think about their driving experience and their mobility experience. We wanna be a part of that and we're making significant strides towards that.

Grayson Brulte:

Goodyear's building on their a hundred plus year history of innovation because Goodyear is ushering in the future of sustainable mobility.


Today is tomorrow, tomorrow is today, and the future is and know has always been Goodyear. Ellis, thank you so much for coming on SAE Tomorrow Today. 

Ellis Jones:

Thank you. I really appreciate the conversation and looking forward to connecting in the future. 

Grayson Brulte:

Thank you for listening to SAE tomorrow today. If you've enjoyed this episode and would like to hear more, please kindly rate review and let us know what topics you'd like for us to explore next.


Be sure to join us next week as we speak with Gavin P. Brown, Executive Director of the Michigan Aerospace Manufacturers Association. He'll discuss the Michigan Launch Initiative, which aims to make Michigan the epicenter of a new space ecosystem. 


SAE International makes no representations as to the accuracy of the information presented in this. The information and opinions are for general information only. SAE International does not endorse, approve, recommend or certify any information, product, process, service, or organization presented or mentioned in this podcast.


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